What Are the Stages of Depression?


Quick Answer

Michelle Toole for Healthy Holistic Living defines some stages of depression as major depression, bipolar disorder, dysthymic disorder and cyclothymic disorder. Some of the most common symptoms of depression include anxiety, memory loss, slow reactions, irresponsible behavior and eating problems.

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Major depression is defined as consuming feelings of unhappiness and a major lack of interest in activities and things that used to bring the depressed individual happiness, notes Toole. Bipolar disorder is recognized as a stage of depression in which the individual alternates between feeling happy and depressed. With dysthymic disorder, the individual feels mild and continuous feelings of depression. Cyclothymic disorder is a depression stage where the individual has bipolar mood swings that seem to be within the normal cycle of emotions. The person's mood can alternate between mild depression and a mild form of mania.

Additional stages of depression include postnatal/postpartum depression in which a new mother feels mild to severe depression after she gives birth, explains Toole. This stage of depression affects roughly 10 percent of new mothers and can appear between a few days after the delivery of the baby and up to a year later. With seasonal affective disorder, the individual's seasonal depression is caused by a lack of sunlight.

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